A Bença: The blessings of the Bando de Teatro Olodum

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This article centers on the major, self-identified Afro-Brazilian theater group in Salvador da Bahia, the Bando de Teatro Olodum. The Bando, it contends, establishes a performative trajectory from which to question and challenge the dominant esthetic signifiers in Brazilian society. It aims to realign the racial and cultural markers that define Africanness and blackness, regenerate affirmative constructs for both signifiers through its dramatic repertoire, and create alternative performative and esthetic forms that draw from the Candomblé religious matrix. The Bando's most recent play, A Bença, is the focus of analysis in its simultaneity as a hyper-visual homage to the elders and a metaphysical treatise on the vagaries of time. A Bença transforms the reality of aging into a surrealistic interpolation of Bantu spiritual conceptualizations of the circularity of time and the interrelation of the human and the ancestral. Ultimately, the Bando and the play transform notions as to what is theater in Brazil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-242
Number of pages14
JournalAfrican and Black Diaspora
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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